The Automotive HUD market is in every way a growing market, however real sales numbers are difficult to come by, as most car makers still sell the HUD as an up sell feature and do not release how many percent of their customers actually opt for this add-on. Most market research data are estimates by the analysts based on conversations with the various car makers. As a surprise, Arbug, a German injection molding machine manufacturer released some information on the development of the HUD market base don their delivery of a new injection molding machine to Continental. The full article was published in EPPM, a magazine for Europe’s plastic processors.
Arbug has delivered the 10th machine of this type to Continental, which uses it to produce a variety of plastic parts including HUD components. According to the article Continental is already producing the third generation of the HUD and plans to increase the accuracy of the manufactured parts to improve the quality of the resulting HUD images.
The newest generation incorporates the optical and mechanical functions of the system, making the assembly much easier. The high accuracy of the injection molding machine makes it possible to create the mirror surfaces as a injection molded part instead of using typical optical processes. This saves a lot of money, making the HUD much cheaper in manufacturing and more affordable to the consumer.
The molded plastic surface is accurate to about 5 micrometers (width of a hair) and is made from Cycloolefin-Copolymer (COC) and then coated with aluminum as the reflective surface. All these steps are performed in a clean room environment with part traceability based on laser marking.
The article also mentions that between 2015 and 2016 the manufacturing of HUD parts at Continental increased from about 350,000 to 600,000 in 2016. This equates to a 70% increase in last year. The new machine will almost double the existing capacity at Continental, which at least speaks to the business expectations at Continental. With several other HUD makers in the mix as well and a push for using projection systems instead of direct view LCD modules, we are looking at an interesting market development for micro display makers. (NH)